Tossing Tubes to the Weed Demons

   
     A few weeks ago I attended the Capital City Musky School.  I signed up for a class called muskies in the weeds.  The class was led by Dr. Ronald F. Schell a Lyme disease researcher at the University of Wisconsin.  I sat down in the auditorium expecting to hear about some new lure that was gonna revolutionize the way we fish in weeds.  He started the presentation by stating that he was a shore fisherman and that he had developed a rigging method for muskies in the weeds.  When the first slide came up on the screen I said to myself, "Tubes? they don't hold up in the weeds."  I have tried and tried to make them work in the past.  You see tubes are one of the greatest soft plastics you can use to fish for musky.  The tentacles wave and pulse like crazy, and their slender rounded head allows you to hop them along the bottom or even walk the dog.  The problem with tubes, even the ones built well, is that since they are hollow, once you start to skin hook them they fall apart.  Also they can be a real pain in the ass to keep in place on the hook.  Even with long shank EWG hooks they move all over the place. He came up with an ingenious homemade, weedless, bait securing,  device that is free to make and simple in design.  What followed changed the way I will forever look at tubes...Enjoy.
     To start building the rig we need to gather the supplies.  You'll need a BIG soft plastic tube (I prefer Bogs Monster Tube Worms).  An appropriate sized hook.  These are large tubes so you need bigger hooks 8/0-12/0 should do, just remember that EWG hooks will give you the best hooking percentage.  Then hit the recycle bin and track down a shampoo or laundry detergent bottle.
Tube, hook, and body wash bottle.
Grab an empty bottle, wife gets mad when you dump out a new bottle to build this.
     First, take and attach the tube to the hook in the standard Texas rigging style.  Be careful to get the point placement right the first time.
Bogs Monster Tube on a Picasso 12/0 EWG hook.
     Second, cut out a 5-6 inch strip of plastic narrower than the tube your using.  On one end cut a slit in the direction opposite of the hook eye.  For instance if your hook eye is horizontal make the slit vertical and vise versa.  At the other end make a hole for the point of the hook to pass through.  Push the eye of the hook through the slit.
Hook eye slid through the slit in plastic.
     Third, rotate the plastic strip up, or to the side depending on hook eye orientation.  This locks the plastic weed guard onto the hook.  It also prevents the tube from sliding up over the eye when casting or setting the hook.
Plastic weed guard secured to hook.
     Fourth, slide the hook point through the hole in the plastic.  The soft plastic of the bottle allows you to skin hook the guard, not the tube.  Now it will last much, much longer.
Skin hooking the plastic allows the tube to stay intact while fishing.
     Fifth, trim the ends and fine tune the fit.  The plastic stays in place if done right.  It keeps the tube locked to the hook, the weeds off the point, and it falls away easily when the fish strikes and you set the hook.
Secured and ready to give the muskies or bass a run for their money.
     This is just one of many ways you can modify the lures you use to optimize them for shore fishing.  Take the time to analyze what your lures are doing when you fish.  Their strengths and their weaknesses.  For me modifying lures so that I can use them in areas that other anglers can't, is a lot of fun.  So many anglers I have met spend all their time analyzing the fish they are chasing, but have no idea what the lure is doing in the water.  If you need to pick up some soft plastic tubes to try this in the weeds around your area you can get them at www.bogbaits.com.
     Bonus tip: If you want your tubes to float and don't have any floating tubes with you.  Put some small chunks of styrofoam in the hollow body of the tube and secure the last piece with some super glue.  The styrofoam will the keep the tube on the waters surface and it makes for a great top water jerk bait.
     Tight Lines.

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